Being a horse owner means being vigilant about your horse’s health and comfort. One way to help prevent the spread of disease is to have separate grooming supplies and separate tack from the other horses in the barn. While this seems like too much trouble, it definitely beats a skin infection or a nasty virus making it’s way around.
While this may mean you are doing a bit more shopping, you should keep the following for your horse and only your horse.
- Saddle pads can be shared if necessary, but only if they are fresh from the laundry. Skin issues, like rain rot, can jump from horse to horse via shared tack. After one horse has worn it, it either goes to the laundry right away or it stays with that horse until it needs the laundry. It’s easy to keep track if you have a hook or bar near your saddle so they can stay together.
- Horse boots and polo wraps can be handled like saddle pads. Fresh from the laundry, they are fair game for any horse, but once on a horse they stay with that horse until the next laundry.
- Saddles. Using a saddle pad under your saddle on a different horse might be ok, as the pad works as a barrier. However, parts of the saddle or bridle might come into contact with your horse.
- Bits. Each horse should have their own bit to use. Not only for fit and positioning, but also for helping to keep viruses and other potential sicknesses from spreading. If you do need to try bits on another horse, a thorough scrubbing or run through the dish washer will disinfect the bit.
- Grooming brushes. Ideally, each horse has his own set of grooming tools. The most common thing that grooming brushes can pass between horses is a skin infection, like rain rot. Rain rot is a bacterial infection, but horses can also develop other skin issues that may be contagious between horses. Fungal infections and even mites and other parasites can jump from horse to horse.
All of these common barn items can be easily labelled, and you might want to start color coordinating your horse’s tools and tack.